The Mon­aghan driver was a late en­try but showed no signs of slow­ing in the Dean forests

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Jack Benyon

Or­gan­iser: For­est of Dean Mo­tor Club When: Novem­ber 12 Where: For­est of Dean, glouces­ter­shire Cham­pi­onship: MSA Welsh Rally Cham­pi­onship; HRCR Stage Mas­ters; ANWCC For­est Cham­pi­onship; Welsh Club­mans For­est Cham­pi­onship; WAMC Mixed Sur­face; ASWMC Loose; Gwynne speed Rally Chal­lenge Stages: 6 Starters: 120

Josh Mof­fett was a late en­try to the Wyedean Stages Rally, and re­warded his trip from Mon­aghan in Ire­land to take vic­tory among some strong com­pe­ti­tion.

Mof­fett – con­firmed as a can­di­date for the Billy Cole­man award last week ( news page 16) – brought the fam­ily Ford Fi­esta RS WRC over for the event to tackle a host of strong Bri­tish Fi­esta en­tries.

On the en­try list, Damian Cole was the only other Wrc-spec Ford ma­chine but the Welsh­man pulled out af­ter SS1 due to concerns about the con­di­tions. That left R5 ex­po­nents Cal­lum Black/el­liott Ed­mond­son and Mar­tyn Eng­land/ Dawn Eng­land to take up the man­tle.

Black de­liv­ered through the first two stages, head­ing Mof­fett by four sec­onds. The pace was even more im­pres­sive given the Brack­ley man’s heal­ing wrist, on this his first rally back since break­ing it af­ter fall­ing off a horse. The metaphor­i­cal get­ting back on the horse didn’t take long.

Both Eng­land and Black suf­fered is­sues through the third stage on the com­pact event, run­ning three re­peated stages to make six in to­tal.

Black suf­fered a spin in con­di­tions likened to the events seen in snow and ice when the rally ran in Jan­uary. Eng­land had a turbo pipe come loose, which then ex­posed an oil leak. Fear­ing fur­ther dam­age, he had to re­tire.

That left a three-stage shooutout be­tween Black and Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship event win­ner Mof­fett. But the Ir­ish­man, with Jack Walby on the notes for the first time, pulled out his ad­van­tage from 12 to 46s by the end of the event. It was Mof­fett’s fourth win in 2016, hav­ing won the last three events he’s fin­ished.

The fight for the podium was a lit­tle closer. Home favourite and BTRDA Gold Star cham­pion Shaun Gard­ner and his­toric fron­trun­ner Nick El­liott fought it out. Gard­ner’s Mitsubishi pre­vailed, al­though the driver was feel­ing the ef­fects of hav­ing not done many events in 2016. El­liott was the opposite, rev­el­ling in the ex­pe­ri­ence he’s had in his Ford Es­cort Mk2, fin­ish­ing top his­toric and pro­vid­ing some of the most com­mit­ted and flam­boy­ant ac­tion out on the pop­u­lar stages. For some spec­ta­tors, he and nav­i­ga­tor Ian Davies may as well have been the win­ners.

Round­ing out the top five was Ben Llewellin. Son of Bri­tish cham­pion, David, he was out on his sec­ond event in 2016, as his shoot­ing keeps him away from ral­ly­ing for the most part. The Welsh­man has held the Bri­tish and UK ju­nior shoot­ing ti­tles, and im­pressed in his as­sault on the top five in his his­toric-spec Es­cort Mk2. He fin­ished the day only 18s off El­liott with MSA Academy co-driver Ross Whit­tock along­side him on the notes.

A class win­ner in sixth, Rob Swann and Dar­ren Gar­rod strug­gled to lay down the power of the Subaru Im­preza S12B WRC, but im­pres­sively brought the car home safe and sound in sixth over­all, af­ter more than a few spins.

A host of po­ten­tial event fron­trun­ners ex­pired on the tax­ing For­est of Dean-based event. Tris­tan Bai­ley took a wheel off his Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04, while Sacha Kakad rolled his Lancer E10 in spec­tac­u­lar fashion. Sara Wil­liams hit a tree and broke the door on her Subaru Im­preza, with pre-stage scru­ti­neers deem­ing the car un­able to com­pete.

Wyedean Rally

Mof­fett’s WRC was rapid in the forests

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